Historic

Key.Aero leads the way in the field of aviation history and heritage. Enjoy an outstanding mix of restoration and warbird features, fascinating articles on aviation history produced by some of the best writers in the business and in-depth and entertaining reports on all historic aircraft. Broad coverage spans the earliest years of flight through to the Cold War, encompassing countless aircraft types and their aerial achievements, plus Key.Aero offers the very latest historical aviation news.

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Mitchell and Bolingbroke for East Kirkby

The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre – home to Lancaster Just Jane – has now received a B-25 Mitchell and two Bolingbrokes

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FlyPast January 2023

The full issue in page-turning PDF format

Defiant among RAF Museum items for ‘adoption’

To mark its half century, the RAF Museum has made several items available for ‘adoption’ – including its Boulton Paul Defiant

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Cosford exhibits moving to new museums

A number of airframes formerly at the RAF Museum Midlands are on their way to new homes

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New monument features Sabre and MiG

Following a delay caused by the pandemic, the Planes of Fame Air Museum has finally opened its Korean War Memorial at Chino, California. 

Battle of Britain artwork displayed

A new painting of the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne in Kent is now on display at London’s RAF Club

Pilot descendants attend Stow Maries Remembrance

The normally bustling museum, which boasts a large collection of Royal Flying Corps World War One buildings, fell silent in tribute to the fallen on Sunday

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Aeroplane meets... Shuttleworth chief pilot Paul Stone

The Shuttleworth Collection’s chief pilot holds a unique place in historic aviation — and the current incumbent, an ex-Sea Harrier man and test pilot, brings a wealth of experience

Tragedy in Texas

The thoughts of all at FlyPast and Key Aero are with those affected by yesterday’s accident

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How's one of the world's most fascinating Spitfire restorations progressing?

A primary aim in returning Spitfire PRIV AA810 to flying condition is to pay tribute to the RAF’s photo-reconnaissance squadrons — and to do so with a meticulous rebuild of this very rare machine

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The Latest Historic Aviation News All in One Place

This is your one stop shop for everything you could possibly want to know about historic aviation. Historic aircraft flights, displays and renovations can all be found among the categories and articles linked to from this page.

Readers can find categories for Warbirds, restoration projects by individuals and organisations such as museums, and in-depth resources on iconic aircraft from all the corners of the globe. Whether it is the Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose, Boeing C-137 Stratoliner, Aerospatiale / British Aircraft Corporation Concorde, Tupolev Tu-144, Hawker Harrier jump-jet or any other historic commercial and military aircraft, the information is here at your fingertips.

Warbird News & Projects

Warbird enthusiasts spend their time bringing iconic military aircraft back to life and in some cases even back to a state of airworthiness. The name Warbird originally referred only to World War 2 era aircraft but has since been widened to include all historical military aircraft.

Popular Warbird types include the North American P-51 Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and the Messerschmitt Bf109. While one or two-seat fighters are affordable for the individual enthusiast to restore, aviation museums and groups of people take on much larger aircraft. Examples of these, include, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the Avro Lancaster. The most famous of recent years must be the Avro Vulcan supersonic bomber, which is now on a static display in the UK but flew for several years at airshows.

See all the latest Warbird projects here

Spitfire Fighter Aircraft

The Supermarine Spitfire is arguably the most iconic World War II era European aircraft. Credited with a significant role in the Battle of Britain victory against the Luftwaffe’s assault on Great Britain in the summer of 1940, the propeller driven fighter was designed by Reginald J Mitchell at Supermarine Aviation. Mitchell designed the Spitfire with the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines in mind because he saw their potential when combined with the aircraft’s unique aerodynamics.

The Spitfire first flew on 5th March 1936 from Eastleigh Aerodrome. However, due to production issues and limitations in Supermarine’s manufacturing process, the first production Spitfire did not take to the skies for a further 2 years. The Spitfire was born four months after the maiden flight of its partner aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane. Together they would deny Nazi Germany air superiority over England and the English channel.

Find out more about the legendary Spitfire

Aircraft Restorations

The restoration of historical aircraft is a challenge full of difficult obstacles with missing engines, control system parts, and the need for significant fuselage, wing or tail repair. The long, slow process of restoring an aircraft to a flight worthy condition or simply for static display is taken up by many individuals, but also museums and groups of enthusiasts.

The restorations undertaken can be as small as a one-seat civilian bi-plane or the always popular Warbirds, or as large as a Lockheed C-121C Constellation. Museums that tackle large scale restorations include the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in Missouri and the Museum of Flight in Everett, Washington. These museums have restored early propeller driven passenger aircraft and the early airliners built in the USA and Europe, like the de Havilland Comet.    

Read more aircraft restoration articles

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